It is a known fact that human beings like tons of other earth creatures evolved from fish. But still, when you compare fish and humans, they seem like complete opposites. Think about it, we don’t even breathe the same air. However, with thorough research, scientists say otherwise. According to them, humans and fish are more alike than previously thought.
The common misconception that fish don’t feel pain or they lose their memory in just three seconds is completely false. In fact, Fish are some of the most complex creatures found on earth. And studies show that they’re more like humans than we think.
Here are five ways humans and fish are more alike.
Fish Can Feel Pain.
Scientists argue that fish do not feel pain. Since fish lacks the part of the brain that humans and other vertebrates have that makes them experience pain mentally, they’re unable to express an emotional response to the pain they feel.
This explanation, however, is outdated and with better research, we’ve moved on from this particular argument. Meaning, the way we once knew how the brain functions, isn’t necessarily accurate.
So, to say that fish don’t feel pain is an inaccurate statement. In fact, during a case study, scientists at the University of Edinburgh tested trout fish by putting acid on their lips. The fish respond by moving away, increasing their respiration, and rubbing their lips on the bottom of the tank. And once they gave them painkillers, the fish went back to functioning normally.
Thus, it proves that fish do feel pain and even respond to it physically just like humans. However, the question is, as humans, are they able to experience pain on an emotional level?
Fish Like Drugs.
This might sound a bit absurd but just like humans (most of them) fish are into doing drugs. Researchers at Harvard University found that fish (zebrafish in this case) is really into cocaine. And another surprising fact was that this preference was even heritable. Just like humans, fish too pass the drug preference down to their offspring.
These fish show a similar compulsive drug-seeking pattern just like humans with addiction have. And if they’re getting the drugs easily. The fish wouldn’t even mind being chased with a net.
Another study found that it’s not just cocaine that the fishes liked but other drugs like stimulants, nicotine, opiates, and alcohol. However, THC (the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) was a no-go.
Fish Lose Their Memory with Age.
The “fish have a three-second memory” cannot be further from the truth. We all know that human brain functions start declining as we age. So, what we knew, understood, and could do as youths won’t be the same as we age.
In an experiment done on zebrafish at 6 and 24 months, they had to swim on a Y-shaped maze. The fish could easily navigate the maze at a young age. However, as they aged, the fish struggled to do the same. Surprisingly, when the scientists designed a virtual version of the same experiment for humans, people above 70 showed a similar sign of struggle just like the fish.
Fish Are Impatient Just Like Humans.
Patience is a virtue that most humans lack. And as much as we’d like to think that impatience is something very common in just humans, other animals share a similar trait, especially fish, making them and humans more alike.
In an experiment done on zebrafish to test their impulse control, most of the fish showed a sign of impatience similar to humans. These fish showed signs alike humans with ADHD, OCD, and addiction. And when they were given a drug used to treat ADHD, their impatience was more under control.
Fish Recognizes Their Friends.
Remember Dory in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory? Even though she had short-term memory loss (very ironic Disney), she still remembered her friends, somehow. Well, this isn’t a surprise because fishes can very well recognize and remember their friends or peers.
Fish are one of the most social animals you can find. It means that they don’t just function well in a group, but also have a strong social presence. Fish recognize other fishes of their group through their distinctive smell. The young ones choose their relatives, while adults bond with someone familiar.